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Scotland’s colleges are planning for hybrid learning when colleges return in January

Shona Struthers chief executive of Colleges Scotland 1200

Colleges protecting students in winter 2021/22

To help protect from the Omicron variant of Covid-19 many of Scotland’s colleges have chosen to move to blended learning for the last week of term and are planning for hybrid learning when colleges return in January.

Many colleges are proactively planning to deliver hybrid teaching for the first two weeks of next year to protect students, minimise pressure on public transport and Scotland’s NHS, by helping to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. These plans are subject to change, with colleges keeping in touch with their students throughout December and January.

Shona Struthers, chief executive of Colleges Scotland said:

“Colleges have prepared very well for this model, and students can be assured that the quality of their college experience is being protected.

“Scottish Government and colleges across the country are working closely together as the situation changes. Colleges were already operating at a higher safety level than the rest of society through this autumn and winter, and we expect that to continue when learning and teaching resumes in January.

“Everyone over 18 in Scotland can now get 1st, 2nd and booster doses of the vaccine and getting a jag over the Christmas holidays will help us all get back to classes more quickly and safely in the new year. Students have also been able to access lateral flow tests at their college for many months, and I’d urge anyone attending a campus to test regularly.”

Chair of the College Principals’ Group and Principal of Edinburgh College, Audrey Cumberford said:

“We have pro-actively prepared in case the pandemic shifted again.

“Over the past 21 months colleges have become adept at delivering high quality learning and teaching remotely or in a hybrid model, with vulnerable students and practical subjects prioritised for access to our campus spaces.

“We all now know the harms which come from Covid-19 go beyond the virus itself – mental health, social isolation and uncertainty have inevitably impacted students in Scotland. Extra resources and help are available at each college, and I would really encourage students to access the services they need. We are absolutely here to support them.

“Students should be checking the information sent to them over the Christmas and New Year period to understand what the return in January looks like for them, and they should feel confident that their courses will be delivered in a really supportive way while we all deal with the latest disruption.”

Paul Little, Principal of City of Glasgow College and Vice Chair of the College Principals’ Group, added:

“In order to keep the flow of qualified and skilled people coming into the workforce – including critical parts of the economy like health and social care, construction, and the maritime industry – the college sector has a crucial role to support our students gain their qualifications even while we deal with this latest wave of the virus. The Scottish economy needs college graduates more than ever because their newly acquired skills will help drive the socio-economic recovery.

“During 2022 we want our students to thrive and really get the most out of their experience after two years now of disruption and difficulties. As term begins in 2022 colleges will ensure that students can gain their qualifications and fulfil their potential.”

Both Edinburgh and City of Glasgow Colleges will switch to online learning from Monday until Wednesday when the festive holiday starts, with other colleges also minimising on-campus activity. 

Arrangements will vary at different colleges to meet local needs, with students being urged to check information from their college regularly.

Four colleges in the central belt have been offered to the Scottish NHS as vaccination and booster clinics sites.

In 2020/21, the only full academic year affected by Covid, almost 9/10 full-time Further Education students said they were satisfied with their college experience (88.6%) and for full-time Higher Education students over 80% were satisfied.  Satisfaction rates were higher for part-time students standing at 92.2% for Further Education and 84.4% for Higher Education.

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